Creamy Rabbit and Polenta
Make the most deliciously tender Italian rabbit in a brandy sauce with creamy polenta.
3 lb to 4.8 ounces rabbit, cut into pieces
2 sprigs fresh sage, chopped
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped
½ cup pancetta, diced
½ cup butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup brandy
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup heavy cream (35 percent)
for the polenta:
2 ½ cups corn flour
8.5 cups water
1 ½ teaspoons salt
add water during cooking (see author's note)
1. Preheat oven to 375-400° F.
2. Lay the rabbit in an oven-proof casserole (stainless steel is best) and seasoning with herbal salt. Add the herbs, pancetta, olive oil, and half of the butter. Mix the ingredients and roast for 45-60 minutes.
3. While roasting, add water to the pan if needed.
4. Once the rabbit is roasted, transfer it onto another baking dish and cover. Keep it in a warm oven, covered, while preparing the sauce.
5. Next, heat the roasting pan with the sauce on the stovetop over medium-high heat. Deglaze with the brandy. Always remove the pan with the brandy from the heat source before adding the liquor to avoid burning yourself. Always ignite the fumes at the edge of the pan and not the liquid itself. Never lean over the dish or pan as you light the fumes.
6. When the brandy is hot, light it with a match and "flambé." Let cook until flame disappears (at this point all alcohol has burned off).
7. Scrap the bottom of the pan to obtain a savoury sauce. Add the wine and cream. Add the remaining butter and mix thoroughly. Set aside and cook the polenta.
Author's Note: It's very difficult to tell the exact quantity of water necessary to obtain a good polenta. The traditional Italian pot used to cook polenta is called piaolo and is made from copper. Make sure to use a wooden spoon, not metal, to whip the polenta.
8. Bring salted water to a boil. Gradually whisk in polenta. Stir continuously to avoid the polenta from becoming lumpy.
9. Cook on medium heat for 45 minutes or until the polenta doesn't stick to the pot, stirring frequently to avoid sticking.
10. Pour on a wooden board or into a casserole dish and let cool down. Plate the rabbit over the polenta and top with sauce. Eat immediately.